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Not Done Yet

The obit was written. The hole was dug.

April 26, 2018 - 12:07 pm

The obit was written. The hole was dug. The nail was in the birch box. Things were so bad in OKC that a lady rocking double-XL was warming up her vocal chords in the tunnel. And with 8 minutes and change left in the third quarter, the Utah Jazz were kicking a corpse. The body was cold when Rick Rubio found Jae Crowder who took one last swing for good measure, with a three.

That three ball made it Utah 71, OKC 46. A 25 points game. On their home floor, laid the bleep out. Toes up. The gravestone chiseled. HERE LIES THE THUNDER. IT DIDN'T WORK. 

But then it DID work. Because Russell Westbrook remembered that he was Russell Westbrook. The baddest dude in the West. Mr. Triple Double. The dude who takes his blade and goes to war, not the guy who lets Rick Rubio drop Triple Doubles on him and gets clowned by Mitt Romney for putting himself in foul trouble. And after nearly shooting the Thunder out of the playoffs through 4 games, Russ got the paddles out and put them to his chest. Because he and Playoff P took the hell over. 

With Rudy Gobert on the bench with 4 fouls, those two dudes went to work. Russ hit back to back 3s. P got to the rack. The Jazz stopped playing like the team that turned OKC inside out for three straight and started playing like the crew that was 9 games under .500 three months ago. The ball stopped moving. The rim got small. And in the span of 8 minutes, an untouchable lead went from 25 points to ZERO.

That lead lasted just 8 minutes. And once this thing got square, there was no coming back from choking that lead away.  

Final score: Oklahoma City 107, Utah 99. And as Russ said to his teammates in the third quarter: "NOT TONIGHT. NOT TONIGHT." 

And Brodie made damn sure of it -- lighting up the Jazz for 45, 15 and 7 in 44 minutes. He played all 24 minutes in the second half, and had 20 in the 3rd and 33 in the half, making damn sure that the Thunder weren't going out like that. 

Not on Russ's watch. Not in his house. And will Playoff P going for 34 and 8 and D-ing up hard core, OKC lives to see another night in Utah, thanks to that two-man army and unbelievable comeback. 

Look, let's be straight: The pieces don't fit. It's been a grind all season to make it work with Russ, PG, and Melo and it doesn't look any easier now that we're in the playoffs. Especially if Melo's going to finally get to the postseason only to unveil his disappearing act. The dude went just 2 for 6 for 7 points in a must-win game when the Thunder badly need a third option. Not exactly the right time to look like the old guy with a bloated paycheck who plays no D, Melo.  

Nothing but respect to Russ for putting the paddles to OKC's season. Nothing but respect for Billy D never blinking as his guys ran down the Jazz. Nobody puts the Munster kid in the corner. 

And while the Thunder still need to find a way to win a game in Salt Lake after losing by an average of 15 in two blowouts, they're still standing -- thanks to Russ and Playoff P going legend in the second half. This may still end really badly for the Thunder. But at least it didn’t end last night.